SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Springfield celebrated the rich culture and history of Italian heritage in the city with a flag raising.

Mayor Domenic Sarno declared October ‘Italian American Heritage month’ in the city of Springfield. Obviously, this flag raising near and dear to the mayor’s heart with his family heritage.

According to a media advisory, Mayor Sarno states, “I want to thank ICCWM President Charlie Becker and all the members of the Italian Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts for continuing and organizing this tradition to honor our heritage.  Being a first-generation Italian-American, this ceremony is very special to me.  Like many immigrants, when Italian-Americans immigrated to America they faced numerous difficulties and challenges. They took any menial jobs and toiled to be able to provide for themselves and their families.  It is because of our forefathers and mother’s perseverance and efforts, that generations to follow have and continue to lead in all walks of life, whether in Springfield, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the United States of America, and the world.  I’m so proud to be an Italian-American and live our motto of ‘Family, Faith, and Food!’”

Family, faith and food… pillars of the Italian American experience, as told by leaders of the city of Springfield. Mayor Sarno joined by State Representative Angelo Puppolo, Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi, and Charlie Becker, President of the Western Massachusetts Italian Cultural Center. State Representative Jacob Oliveira stopping by as well, putting aside his Portuguese heritage for a moment of Unity.

Each Italian descendent reiterating the strengths of the community in Springfield’s history and modern makeup.

“They came with much of nothing but wanted opportunity and took any and all menial jobs they could,” said Sarno. “I come from a barber and a seamstress, Puppolo comes from a plumber and Calvi comes form a shoe maker. America, that’s what we are all about.”

Sarno added that the message he wants to send with these recurring flag raisings is that every culture and creed is welcome in Springfield and helps enrich the city. Sarno and his fellow Italian Springfield city officials also offered huge thanks to Charlie Becker and members of the Italian Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts for continuing to organize events to recognize and honor the community’s rich heritage.